Trashlands by Alison Stine is a quiet but impactful read. It presents a look at what our world may end up like if we don’t start caring for our planet right now.
Mass flooding and other natural disasters caused by climate change have shrunk North America and completely changed everyone’s way of life. In this new world, nothing is definite, and everything is a struggle. Women are more vulnerable than before the floods; children are often forcibly taken to labour camps; plastic is the new form of currency.
In an area renamed Scrappalachia, Coral lives with her partner on a junkyard known as Trashlands. Trashlands is a dance club owned by a vile man called Rattlesnake Master, the self-appointed Mayor of the community.
Rather than work as a dancer, Coral is a plucker, someone who salvages usable plastic from the shore and woods. In her limited spare time, she creates art sculptures from scraps and leaves them in the woods for people to do what they will with them. Several years ago, Coral’s son Shanghai was forcibly taken to a children’s labour camp. Since then, Coral has been trying to save enough plastic to buy his freedom.
A reporter named Miami arrives at Scrappalachia with a vague goal of trying to find something. Miami’s life becomes intertwined with the people of Trashlands, and his presence opens up the possibility of changing some of the lives in the community.
Thoughts on Trashlands by Alison Stine
This story has multiple perspectives and a timeline that jumps from the past to the present and vice versa. However, I found it less jarring as the story progressed. Usually, when reading from multiple POVs, I’ll prefer one perspective over another, but with this book, I found them all engaging. Mr. Fall and Coral were definitely my favourite characters.
This novel is paced slowly and is meandering, but it managed to capture my attention entirely. While this book explores some dark themes, there is still a lingering hope that permeates through, signalling that it is not too late to change things.
CW: child abuse/neglect, drug usage.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Expected Publication: 26 October 2021
Thank you to MIRA for the arc via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
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